A panel to discuss the proposition that anthropologists who work in each other's home territories are able to demonstrate a relatively equal form of scholarship that could provide a model for the future of a discipline that has suffered from accusations of superiority from others with whom we work
Anthropology has been criticised for various inequalities, but one important and continuing one is the inequality of the researcher collecting knowledge from the researched and using it for their own, albeit scholarly ends. Complaints about this were made in Japan back in the 19th century when the first society of anthropology was formed to monitor the researches of Edward Morse, and Tsuboi Shōgorō went to London for three years to study the subject. For some time, however, both British and Japanese anthropologists focused their attention on societies described as "primitive" or undeveloped, and the subject became associated with colonialism. More recently, however, the number of anthropological studies of Japan has increased, as have the anthropological studies of Europe. At the third (1987) meeting of the Japan Anthropology Workshop (presently about to celebrate its 30th anniversary) Professor Yoshida Teigo noted the advantage of bringing together anthropologists of and from Japan because of their complementary perspectives, and more recently, in 2011, I found myself fascinated by the reports of Japanese anthropologists working in Europe at a meeting at the Japanese National Museum of Ethnology, from its inception keen to treat all parts of the world equally. Joint research projects in Japan and Britain have also been very successful. The proposal here is that this kind of mutual exchange can benefit the discipline by offering a relatively equal and unbiased forum for building mutual understanding without the disadvantage associated with prior historical legacies.